Following the proposed downgrade of the South African Embassy in Israel, a symposium was held recently to discuss the issue.
The conversation surrounds the ANC’s National Policy Conference in July which adopted a policy recommendation to downgrade the South African embassy in Tel Aviv. The proposed downgrade has been seen as reducing diplomatic ties with Israel.
Chairperson of Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, Thoko Mkhwanazi Xaluva said, “If South Africa were to downgrade its embassy in Israel, it would unfairly impact on the ability of African Jews to practice their religious and cultural heritage.”
Rabbi Dovid Hazdan added that the downgrade would have a devastating and far-reaching impact on Jewish life in South Africa, as Jews all over the world are ‘inextricably bound to the Land of Israel’.
Having spent many years of study in Israel for his Rabbinic ordination before returning to South Africa as an educator, Hazdan said that Israel has acted an incubator and inspiration for the Jewish leadership in South Africa and has become of great benefit to the local communities.
Founder of the Vuka Foundation, Linda Gobodo said, “An upgrade should be considered.” The foundation’s mission is to restore African pride. It calls on the people of Africa to take the responsibility of building and developing the continent and make it a better place in which to live.
National director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, Wendy Kahn, agreed and said that South Africa could play a role in the peacebuilding needed between the Israelis and Palestinians.
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